Pregnant okapi

Oklahoma City Zoo okapi Kayin, 6, is pregnant and expected to give birth to her first calf in the fall. She is shown with Bosomi, 4.

This fall, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will welcome a new addition to its okapi family when adult female okapi, Kayin, gives birth to her first calf.

Kayin, 6, is pregnant and due this fall. This will be the first offspring for the zoo’s okapi pair, Kayin and Bosomi, 4. The last okapi born at the zoo was Kayin in 2015.

“An okapi birth is a significant event not only for our animal family but for the okapi population as a whole,” said Tracey Dolphin, the zoo’s curator of hoofstock and primates.

The calf’s father arrived at the zoo on a recommendation with the AZA’s SSP for okapi from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, in 2020.

The zoo’s veterinary team confirmed Kayin’s pregnancy through ultrasounds. Following an approximate 15-month gestation period she is expected to give birth this fall. Kayin is in good health.

Native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, okapis are a reclusive species often referred to as the “ghosts of the forests.” These unique animals have distinguishing physical features including a velvet-like brown coat, striped legs and hind quarters and enlarged ears. The okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe.

Classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, okapi populations in the wild — estimated between 10,000 and 50,000 — are currently decreasing primarily because of habitat loss resulting from logging and human settlement.

Wildlife fans can help conserve okapi by donating used electronic devices at the zoo. Small electronics frequently contain coltan, and mining for this substance threatens the habitats of okapi and other endangered species.

Additionally, guests can choose to Round Up for Conservation when purchasing items from the zoo’s gift shops or restaurants.

Their habitat is across from Predator Pass. The zoo will share updates on Kayin’s pregnancy on its social platforms.

The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with the last entry no later than 4. Purchase advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at okczoo.org/tickets. Located at the crossroads of Interstates 44 and 35, the zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner.

Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children age 2 and under are admitted free.

Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member. Memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org or any place admission is sold in the Entry Plaza during regular hours. To learn more, call 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.

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